I’m in the process of getting a divorce and I need a new insurer, a new lawyer, a new place to live so I can be closer to my family, new personal assistants, a new emotional support system and so on. Are there any groups for those of us with SCI undergoing divorce? And do you know of any resources to help me with my immediate needs and lifestyle changes?
Spinal Cord Injury Resource Center Director Bill Fertig responds:
If divorce or separation becomes a hard reality that you must face in order to move on, we recommend that you face it as you did your SCI when you first sustained it. Go about the process one puzzle piece at a time. “Fix” one part, then move on to the next. Life after SCI has shown you to be resilient. You can move into this next phase and put it behind you, just as you have learned to adjust to your disability.
There are agencies and support groups that can help you through the process of rebuilding your support system, including finding and retaining personal care assistance. Your local Center for Independent Living can connect you to PCA programs in your new location and provide an overall local benefits review. CILs are private, nonprofit corporations that provide services to maximize the independence of individuals with disabilities and the accessibility of the communities they live in. They’re typically an excellent place to learn about transportation options and other resources available to people with disabilities.
You may wish to connect with our United Spinal chapter affiliates and support groups in your new community to find others with SCI who have gone through divorce. Additionally, reaching out on social media to connect with others who have faced this same set of challenges may provide you with emotional support.
Lastly, the National SCI Statistical Center ‘Facts-at-a-Glance’ overview includes first year and subsequent year costs of care by level of SCI — this can be an important part of settlement negotiations managed by your legal team.
• ALLSUP TrueHelp healthcare transitions guidance, truehelp.com/healthcare-assistance/
• CareCure SCI Forum, sci.rutgers.edu/forum/showthread.php?133972-divorce&highlight=divorce
• Center for Independent Living directory, ilru.org/projects/cil-net/cil-center-and-association-directory
• National SCI Statistical Center “Facts-at-a-Glance,” https://www.nscisc.uab.edu/Public/Facts%20and%20Figures%20-%202018.pdf
• “MS and Divorce: Through the Darkness,” newmobility.com/2018/09/ms-and-divorce-through-the-darkness/
• Special needs/divorce lawyer network, specialneedsalliance.org/when-people-with-disabilities-divorce/
• State by state resource pages for United Spinal chapters and support groups, askus.unitedspinal.org/index.php?pg=kb.book&id=40
If you have a question for United Spinal staff, please submit it at unitedspinal.org/ask-us or call 800/962-9629 (choose option 1).
For nonemergency medical questions, try the Craig Hospital Nurse Advice line, 800/247-0257.